For a pictorial of the 2009 TDA Summit, please click here

The 2011 Poker TDA Summit

June 29-30

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Rio Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas


     The Poker Tournament Directors Association was founded in 2001 by industry professionals Matt Savage, Linda Johnson, Jan Fisher, and Dave Lamb (l-r, at podium below). The founders recognized that standard tournament rules were needed in order to move the industry forward. During the past ten years, the association has grown to include over 1400 tournament staff in 39 countries. To date, 56 Official Rules and 6 Recommended Procedures have been adopted by the membership.      The 2011 Summit was the fifth in TDA history. Over 140 members from 21 countries attended the two-day event at the Rio in Las Vegas. The Summit coincided with the 2011 World Series of Poker, ideal for participants of both events. The agenda included a review of all rules, adoption of 12 new rules, modifications to 11 rules, and adoption of 6 Recommended Procedures. The event was made possible by generous support from Genesis Gaming Solutions, Copag Cards, and the Rio Hotel & Casino.
Videos & Powerpoints To view the archived videos of the Summit on You Tube please click here for Day 1 and click here for Day 2.
To view the powerpoints click here for Day 1 and click here for Day 2.

TDA Rules Vers. 2011-1.0

To access the latest Poker TDA Rules, 2011 Version 1.0, click here.

Discussion Forum To access the TDA Rules discussion forums, click here.

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Over 140 poker tournament officials from 21 countries attended the 2011 Poker TDA Summit at the Rio in Las Vegas

The Poker TDA Board calls the 2011 Summit to order on June 29th to start a packed two day agenda...



     The Poker Tournament Directors’ Association (TDA) held it’s 2011 Summit on June 29 & 30th at the Rio Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. Over 140 poker tournament officials attended the Summit to debate and vote on proposed new rules and amendments to existing rules. The final draft of this legislation is scheduled for publication in mid-July.

     The Poker TDA was founded in 2001 by industry professionals Matt Savage, Linda Johnson, Jan Fisher, and David Lamb (photo above, l-r). Board Member Matt Savage described the inception of the Association in a recent interview: “… during the 1990’s, poker tournaments were becoming increasingly popular. The problem was every venue had a different set of rules. The players didn’t know what to expect from tournament to tournament…”  Linda Johnson remembers the initial challenges the TDA faced: “…The first year the TDA met, it was difficult to adopt rules… everyone supported the idea of standardization as long as it was based on the rules they were using…”


... After a review of current rules, the process moves to debate on new rules. Matt Savage chairs the General Rules category.

WSOP TD Jack Effel was instrumental as host of the event, ensuring everything ran smoothly at the Rio.


     Poker tournament regulation has come a long ways since the inception of the TDA. During the past 10 years, the membership has grown to over 1400 tournament staff in 41 countries. Heading into the 2011 Summit, the Association had adopted 44 rules governing the  situations that professional tournament directors face everyday. At the 2009 Summit, the association adopted 4 new rules and amended 19 existing rules. Dave Lamb described the 2009 event as "alot of necessary clarification to existing rules". In contrast, the 2011 Summit saw the passage of 12 new rules and 6 new Recommended Procedures.

    Jan Fisher explains the rules process: “…basically we discuss the proposed rule change. It’s open to the floor to debate so all opinions are heard… When everyone has had their say we take a vote. If a substantial majority votes yes, it’s approved. If we can’t get a substantial majority approval, it’s not adopted…”

     The entire poker industry has changed dramatically in recent years. Matt Savage was Tournament Director for the World Series of Poker in 2003 when an unknown amateur named Chris Moneymaker made history, beating a field of over 800 players and winning $2.5 million in the process. “That was the year that really changed everything.” Savage said, "The popularity of the game just exploded after that”.

     Reflecting the surging popularity of poker, over 125 Tournament Directors from 90 casinos, leagues, & tour circuits attended the 2009 Summit and a record 140 members packed the Rio Ballroom for the 2011 event. The Summit is not all work as the WSOP hosts a special "TDs only" Texas Hold'em tournament the first evening. When the smoke cleared Anthony Furnier, TD at Jacksonville Greyhound Racing & Poker, claimed the 2011 title.


Tim Mix and Kathy Raymond of The Venetian Las Vegas intently ponder the arguments on both sides of the Accepted Action issue.  Daniel Negreanu offers a player's point of view on proposed new guidelines for betting in limit games.

     How will the 2011 Poker TDA Summit be remembered? Founding Board Member Dave Lamb noted: “… I was especially impressed by the level of participation. From my vantage point the members came with ideas and got their hands in the air. Whether they represented a local league or a major tour, all voices were heard. Also the demand is increasing for general guidelines as well as hard and fast rules so for the first time we adopted Procedural Recommendations at this Summit."

Barry Greenstein makes his case for more aggressive management of the tournament clock  TDA Director Linda Johnson meets with Kevin Dawn (l) and Thom Krauss of Hollywood Casinos.  Anthony Furnier won the WSOP TDA Tournament. despite a possible rules violation for excess items on the table!
Pillars of California Poker: Jim Barbo of Golden West Casino (l) & D.J. Villegas of the Commerce Casino Bee Estes, Atlantis Casino & Resort, Reno, led floor debate to adopt rules discouraging conditional statements. Hollywood Casino TD Brian Vickers proposed the language for contested showdowns & playing the board.
TDA Forum stalwarts Nick Ciavarella (l) and WSOP Supervisor Thomas McGee meet in person after many exchanges on the forum. Mike Gainey of the Peppermill, Reno, an early proponent of uniform poker tournament rules.   Matt and Maryann Savage celebrate the conclusion of the most productive Summit in Poker TDA history.
After two days of legislation, the TDA Board and Rules Advisory Committee adjourn the 2011 Poker TDA Summit.

     The TDA is an unpaid, volunteer organization dedicated to the improvement of the poker tournament industry. Please see the TDA Mission Statement here. The 2011 Poker TDA Summit was made possible by generous support from Copag Cards, Genesis Gaming Solutions, and  The Rio Hotel & Casino.

     Special thanks to Summit Host & WSOP TD Jack Effel for help with innumerable details. Many thanks to TDA volunteers Doug Alexander, Rob "Veerob" Perelman, Randi Levenbaum, Bob Fisher, D.J. Villegas, and Kevin Dawn,  for their invaluable contributions to Summit logistics. Photography is courtesy of Devanir Campos, Nick Ciavarella, Mike Bateman, Jim Barbo, Vernon Ruth, Selina Calvo, Arnold Mukai & Mike Bishop. Many thanks to Kerry Knoll of Vegas Tech Group & Donna Blevins of Big Girl Poker for tireless work on the Poker TDA website & newsletter.

Copyright 2011, Poker Tournament Directors Association, all rights reserved.
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